Mike who was raised in Ft Walton Beach, Florida went to work for McLaughlin Mortuary in 1974. He had to resign a bank job in order to attend the funeral of his grandfather and when Maurice McLaughlin heard, he offered Mike a job. At this point Mike realized he had found his calling. After graduating from Gupton Jones School of Mortuary Science, Atlanta, in 1977, Mike returned to McLaughlin. Mike has been employed by several different funeral homes in different states as the needs of his growing family changed.
Mike has 37 years in the funeral business and has seen the typical local funeral home change from a family owned and operated establishment, involved in the community, willing to help neighbors in times of grief to what is now, more often a corporate, conglomerate cog. Although Mike has worked for several different corporate funeral homes the push to up-sell as well as the increasing cost for the average funeral led Mike to decide there must be a better way.
Mike joined the Lakeland Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1986 where he met his wife Marsha. Marsha and, later Mike served as president of the Lakeland chapter. Both Mike and Marsha have continued their involvement in Junior Chamber International on both a state and national level. Mike is a trustee for the Florida JCI Senators Foundation which awards scholarships to high school seniors furthering their education. Mike is an active member of the Anna Maria privateers and several other community organizations. First Baptist Church at the Mall, Lakeland, is the family’s home church. Two daughters, Candice and Starr both have families and careers of their own. Three grandsons, Robbie and Emerson in Plant City and Greyson in Atlanta, bring joy to the family.
We opened Central Florida Casket Store in April 2000 as a retail establishment specializing in caskets, vaults and urns. Federal law prohibits any funeral establishment from requiring its customers to purchase needed merchandise from the funeral home. Many customers upon learning that Mike was a fully licensed funeral director requested he add funeral services and the name was changed to Central Florida Casket Store and Funeral Chapel in 2002.
We expanded in 2004 to add a much needed chapel. Improved Technology has enabled us to provide live video feed and the ability to record services. We expanded again in 2009, adding an on-site crematory. Continuing our non traditional funeral aspects we opted to install a Bio Cremation facility. Increased environmental awareness has made Natural Cremation a must for future generations.